Book Review: Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom

Book Review, Climate, Allan MacRae, Thinkers' Corner

Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom
Published: January 2021
"It dawned on me one day that most of the scare stories in the media today are based on things that are invisible ... the average person cannot observe and verify the truth of these claims for themselves ... rely[ing] on the activists, the media, the politicians, and the scientists - all of whom have huge financial and /or political interests in the subject - to tell them the truth."

“This book is my effort, after 50 years as an independent scientist and environmental activist, to expose the misinformation and outright lies used to scare us and our children about the future of the Earth.”

Dr. Patrick Moore is a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy with expertise in energy, ecology and prosperity. He has been a leader in the international environmental field for over 40 years. Dr. Moore is a Co-Founder of Greenpeace and served for nine years as President of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as a Director of Greenpeace International. Join us for a discussion with Dr. Patrick Moore on his new book.

Thinkers’ Corner on May 20, 2020 at 3:30 CDT  —  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER


Book Review by Allan MacRae

In 1841, Charles Mackay wrote a remarkable book entitled “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”, about the popular manias of that time that cost people their fortunes, as these financial scams mushroomed and then exploded into oblivion. Patrick Moore’s new book Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom could be the sequel, as he chronicles eleven fake disasters that are costing modern society trillions of dollars in squandered global resources, and scaring gullible people into supporting extremist political agendas that will cause them and their children great harm.

In the Introduction, Moore describes his early life and his adoption of a strong dedication to true science-based ecology. He discusses his role as a co-founder of Greenpeace, and his lifelong dedication to ecological and humanitarian causes, based on the Scientific Method. Moore left Greenpeace in the mid-1980s when it was taken over by extremists who embraced an unscientific, anti-human agenda, which politicized fake fears and pursued bureaucratic and financial growth through a barrage of false propaganda. 

Since that time, Moore outlines many falsehoods that have been widely promoted by extremists and the popular media, and explains in clear factual scientific terms why these issues, which frighten so many people, especially children, are hugely exaggerated and often completely false, fabricated, scary narratives.

Moore explains the central thesis of his book thus:

Awhile back it dawned on me that the great majority of scare stories about the present and future state of the planet, and humanity as a whole, are based on subjects that are either invisible, like CO2 and radiation, or extremely remote, like polar bears and coral reefs. Thus, the vast majority of people have no way of observing and verifying for themselves the truth of these claims predicting these alleged catastrophes and devastating threats. Instead, they must rely on the activists, the media, the politicians, and the scientists – all of whom have a very large financial and/or political stake in the subject – to tell them the truth. This welcomes the opportunity to simply invent narratives such as the claim that “CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels are causing a climate emergency.”

No one can actually see, or in any way sense, what CO2 might actually be doing because it is invisible, odorless, tasteless, silent, and cannot be felt by the sense of touch. Therefore, it is difficult to refute such claims because there is nothing to point to and tangibly expose the falsity of these claims. One can’t simply point to visible CO2 and say, “Look what awful things CO2 is doing over there.” Thus, CO2 as a harmful, world-ending emission is an almost perfect subject to invent and propagate a doomsday story, and this fact has not gone unnoticed by those inclined to peddle unsubstantiated fabrications. CO2 has become the scapegoat for an entire laundry list of negative effects that could require 118 books to record and tabulate. Indeed, the website lists 118 books on the subject of climate change; and that’s confined to books exclusively written in the English language.

When one studies these “narratives” of invisible and remote circumstances, it is hard to avoid noticing that the purveyors often stoop to ridiculing and shaming, and likewise exhibiting an unwillingness to discuss the allegations in a civilized manner. It is virtually impossible to engage in debate because they usually dismiss those who question their narrative as a skeptic, liar, denier, or in the pocket of “big oil.” And if the alleged skeptic has employment, these narrators will work underhandedly to have you removed from your livelihood or position. 

In summary, these purveyors of global environmental catastrophes are definitely a scurrilous and dishonest lot. Healthy skepticism is at the very heart of scientific inquiry, and it has played an integral role in determining factual, scientific truth. It is the duty of scientists to be skeptical of all new claims, especially when they are predictions of catastrophes that have not yet occurred.

Moore discusses these false scares in eleven chapters:

  1. “Africa’s Oldest Baobab Trees are Dying”
  2. “The Great Barrier Reef is Dead or Dying and All Coral Reefs will Die in this Century”
  3. “Climate of Fear and Guilt”
  4. “Polar Bears are Threatened with Extinction Because of Climate Change”
  5. “One Million Species are Threatened with Extinction Because of Climate Change – Soon”
  6. “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is Full of Plastic and is Twice the Size of Texas”
  7. “Genetically Modified Food Contains Something Harmful. What is it?”
  8. “Fear of Invisible Radiation from Nuclear Energy”
  9. “Forest Fires: Of Course they are Caused by Climate Change (not Trees?)
  10. “Ocean Acidification – A Complete Fabrication”
  11. “Mass Walrus Deaths from CO2 – Another Fake Catastrophe from David Attenborough”

Patrick Moore has a Ph.D. in the sciences, and he ably demolishes with strong scientific evidence the blatant false scares of political extremists and financial opportunists. Moore’s text is easily readable by the layman and his contrarian evidence is compelling. Moore provides an ample list of references for those who choose to further study the legitimate science and the false scares. 

The most complex treatise is Chapter 3, “Climate of Fear and Guilt,” but it is also easy to comprehend and well-written. Moore puts today’s climate into the paleo-historic perspective, and shows that there is nothing unusual happening now. The alleged moderate warming and human-made CO2 increases attributed to fossil fuel combustion are entirely beneficial to humanity and to the environment – moderating extreme cold and greatly increasing plant and crop yields. 

Moore correctly states that the paleoclimate record clearly shows, contrary to the false climate alarmist hypothesis of fossil-fuel driven CO2-caused global warming, that changes in atmospheric CO2 lag by about 800 years changes in atmospheric temperature, which is an absolute disproof of the catastrophic global warming hypothesis. In summary, the future cannot cause the past, and the fossil fuel-caused global warming crisis does not exist, except in the overheated imaginations of climate extremists.

Moore also correctly describes the abject failure of grid-connected green energy generation from intermittent sources like wind and solar. The electric grid demands steady, dispatchable power, while wind and solar provide the opposite – highly variable power that requires 100% spinning reserve backup, typically from hydro or natural gas turbines. Recent green power failures in Britain, Germany, California, and Texas prove the inadequacy if intermittent power generation, and battery backup is not the solution – too small and totally inadequate to resolve the problem. Wind and solar also occupy too much land area and are impractical and costly, except in remote off-grid locations.

Moore’s Epilogue appeals for science-based rational solutions to real, not imaginary global problems:

  • People are not dying by the tens of thousands from human-made global warming, aka climate change, and species are not going extinct in huge numbers either – a false crisis.
  • Lack of beta-carotene causes death and blindness in hundreds of thousands of children every year; the approval of Golden Rice is a huge improvement, but Greenpeace and other extremists continue to oppose it.
  • Earth is greening due to increased atmospheric CO2, and life expectancy is rising and will continue to do so if sensible energy policies employing fossil fuels, hydro, nuclear and biomass prevail; wind and solar power should decline except in off-grid applications. Cheap, reliable, abundant energy is the lifeblood of society – it has always been so.

Not surprisingly, to counteract global warming, the federal government plans to increase the carbon tax from its current level of $30 per tonne to $170 per tonne by 2030. And, also not surprisingly, the Minister of the Environment has claimed that this increase will have “almost zero” impact on the economy.

Nevertheless, the Fraser Institute has just published an analysis estimating the effect of increasing the tax to $170 per tonne. The higher carbon tax will result in the loss of over 200,000 jobs and a decline in the GDP of $44 billion. As a result, energy costs will increase which will have a very large and negative effect on poor Canadians.